tv Capital News Today CSPAN March 9, 2010 11:00pm-2:00am EST
international partners. a quick response to any outbreak of food borne illness is the most important way to prevent its spread. several years ago we actually put funding in this bill for the fda to promote rapid response teams throughout the country. i understand that you have increased the number of these teams hopefully because you believe that they have been successful. could you talk a little bit more about these teams and other collaborative efforts you used to respond to food borne illness outbreaks in this country? ..
more integrated approach to respond to outbreaks of foodborne illness and the need to have at team that reflects a range of different disciplines and expertise, so that you can understand, in a systematic way, the outbreak and what is needed to respond. in addition, we have been able to put in place a network of laboratories to enhance our em we have been able to put in place a network of laboratories to enhance our emergency response because you need to identify the food source and confirm in order to really pursue the investigation and the appropriate response so that's been very important as well but the element of integrated system
i think our started to be put in place over what i hope to people to achieve what to continue to extend those important elements of our system to institutionalize them because one of the things i have seen since i've been in this role as the fda has an unfortunate history gearing up after there's been some kind of crisis and resources received and there's another crisis we gear up again. i would like to see us discontinue with sustained support for the key programs such as the rapid response teams that do make a difference that matter to us all. >> i've been a strong supporter of the generic a drug program for many years now. we consistently provided funds to the office of generic drugs and because the number of
applications which are rising so quickly we can't keep up in the backlog as continuing to rise. rosslyn and generic drugs in my duty to provide important opportunity to lower health care cost with senator dorgan was referring to and to which he so much dedicated and getting these as quickly as possible is important to respond to the high-priced drugs that we have on the market today. the budget includes a proposal for the user fees for generic drugs that were the result in the hiring nearly 880 i'm sorry new reviewers and inspectors of the generic java applications. he had been talking about the industry with user fees to have a post in the past. can you give an update on this, how soon can we hope to decrease if not eliminate the backlog in generic drug applications. >> as you point out generic
drugs are very important in being able to get lower priced safe and effective drugs to people who need them thanks to the work of this committee we have been able to increase our staffing and our opportunities in the office of generic drugs and review process but getting those generic user fees would make enormous difference. just a few weeks ago i addressed the generic pharmaceutical association's annual meeting and had the opportunity to meet with and speak with leadership. i am optimistic that this time we are going to be able to sit down and work something out in terms of the generic drug user fees. i certainly hope so. i think this is one of those aretas where industry and fda both recognize the present situation is not acceptable serving the american people well
and that together we have to find a meaningful and real solutions we are starting to roll up our sleeves and we are going to be working hard on that and as i said i am optimistic. >> what is your level of priority on this issue? >> on this issue very high priority. very high priority. one of the challenges of this job is that i'm always juggling a lot of high priority concerns but this is very, very fundamental to what we are trying to achieve with the president has set out to achieve through health care reform and other activities. with the secretary wants to achieve and certainly fundamental to the mission of the fda. >> could you talk a little bit about some of the foreign office is that you've opened. i understand you have one in which jordan. what have the foreign office is accomplished and increase the level from safety for american consumers and are you intending
to pursue that by opening additional foreign offices? >> we do have a number of foreign offices at the present time. actually jordan hasn't opened yet but it's slated to open in the upcoming year. this is very important to extending our foreign presence and ability to really ensure the safety of imports both food and medical products. we importantly have offices in china and india now and also we have offices and mexico, costa rica and chile. we have a presence in brussels to work with our counterparts in the european union and london, counterpart agency, the emea which is the european fda planned s jordan indicated and
also one in italy where the european union food safety agency is located. these offices are very important working to extend our reach in terms of international presence working with sister regulatory agencies in those countries and in those regions providing technical assistance to national regulatory authorities to try to boost to regulatory capacity and other nations that have less sophisticated systems than we do so that we can have greater confidence products being developed in those countries are being developed in accordance with international standards and the standards that we would apply. i think as we think about extending our global reach, we need really to have a very new approach where our job isn't
simply to inspect things at the border as they come over but to push back and try to assure safety and again a preventive approach to have standards and systems that are institutionalized whatever country is producing the product to enhance the safety of these products when they come into this country and i think in many areas we can provide an additional benefit by working with other countries to help them strengthen their regulatory capacity that will accrue to the people of those nations as well as to the people of this country. >> thank you. could you talk about the medical device registry that you're working with? >> this is an effort to try to achieve a unique identifier system for medical devices and a system that will allow us to
link information about medical devices to electronic of records and overarching system where we can better monitor how medical devices are working in the real world better track adverse events that may occur in relation to medical device used in the marketplace and of problems to emerge too swiftly and effectively respond. >> all right. i would like to thank use so much for being here this morning. there are multiple votes starting on the floor so we have to wrap this up. give them a great job. we are going to keep the record open until next tuesday for any questions and i hope that you will respond to them by april 13th if you can. once again, thank you and your colleagues for being here today and the hearing is now
adjourned. >> thank you so left. [inaudible conversations] president obama continues his push for health care legislation wednesday in st. louis. we talked to a capitol hill reporter for an update on what congress is doing on health care >> david lightman of mcclatchy newspapers what is the status of negotiations of health care in the house? >> ongoing. they are actively proceeding all
kind entries. we hear all kinds of things we can't print or talk about, but there's a lot of things going on. >> what do you mean you can't print or talk about them? >> they are rumors but nothing is confirmed. people will walk out of a meeting and say we just heard x was on the table or so and so proposed x and y. it's all negotiation right now so nothing is firm. >> the white house suggested last week a revised bill would be done by march 18th. that's next week. what did majority leader whole year say about the deadline? >> he strongly inferred would be difficult to meet in fact he was asked whether or not they could meet a deadline of march 26th when they leave for the easter passover recess. he gave no commitment in the feeling is you never rule anything out around here but march 18th would be very difficult. march 26th only slightly less
difficult. >> why does the focus seemed to be whether the house will act? >> the house is going to go first. under the scenario now being circulated, the house would pass the senate bill this date hundred 71 billion-dollar bill. the senate passed december 24. then the second bill, the reconciliation bill would be offered. the house would probably go first on that so the house would have to act twice before the senate voted. >> who are some of the lawmakers on the fence about health care legislation being talked about? >> you have to start with the 54 members of the moderate democratic coalition. 39 democrats voted against the house bill november 7th all if not all blue dogs are the first people you have to convince and then there are an estimated ten to 12 house members very concerned about the senate abortion language, the senate language is less restrictive than the house.
>> what are you watching for closely as this health care legislation comes to fruition? >> we are looking to see the details of the reconciliation bill. president obama last week offered an 11 page outline of what he wanted and we are -- we want to see this substance because what matters the most is how this affects the readers and constituents and we want to be able to explain that as an evil is of terms and quickly so that's what we are watching. >> david lightman of mcclatchy newspapers, thank you. >> thank you.
at today's white house briefing, spokesman robert gibbs talked about the timeline for the passing health care legislation and financial troubles increase. this is 40 minutes. >> take us away. >> [inaudible] >> the information i gave last week was based on conversations with staff that i have had here in the building and i will be given nothing that would change
the advice i was given last week. >> i'm sure we've been in contact with members of congress on the leadership. i don't know if they've got a specific conversation. >> is their significance to the house of taking action on the day before the president goes overseas. >> just that the president is scheduled to leave town on what we believe is an important trip to both indonesia and australia. >> on a matter of what is happening is the white house support a bailout of greece to help that country get out of the crisis? >> what i think the greeks have said and europeans have said and what we have said from the podium is this is an issue for the european union. we believe they had and possessed the capabilities to
solve that and the president has on a number of occasions prior to the meeting today been briefed on the situation. but again, believe this is something that the europeans can and should resolve on their own. >> said the administration doesn't have a role at all? >> obviously i think the global economic recovery will be discussed in a meeting today. but the feeble go out after the meeting and you will see the president this evening at that defense in the east room. so there's no doubt that in addition to cooperation on afghanistan that global economic recovery will no doubt come up. yes, ma'am. >> just following on that is
there any situation on which the u.s. would provide help directly? i know you've said it's something to do -- connect it's not simply my statement, that's what all the actors in europe have said as well. i think the europeans possess what of your ability they need to solve or to help in solving this problem. >> are you ruling out any u.s. aid? >> i do not believe they are going to talk to us about that. >> and then on health care, the president made a plea to democrats who are wavering to take a courageous vote and vote for the health care bill on if they think it may not be politically popular to do it. what kind of outreach is he doing behind the scenes with democrats who may be on the fence. >> he's had meetings as we talked about last week in this building with different members.
i do not believe he has made any calls this far this week. i wasn't on the trip yesterday but i'm sure they had an opportunity to talk with folks on the air plan and will continue to push public events obviously we've got one tomorrow in missouri to discuss health care reform. we may add more stops before the president leaves for indonesia and australia and continue to make his forceful case for reform. i think what the american people saw the president talked about yesterday was we needed a system that work for the american people not just work for insurance companies and who thinks the time to act is now. >> izzie cui to be behind the scenes working with them this week? >> i think that he will meet with members later on this week.
i think if the calls need to be made to convince people of the benefits of supporting comprehensible care reform he will do that as well. >> one question about tomorrow, what is he going to say different from what he said yesterday on health care? will his message be smaller to that? >> some of it will be similar. we've been discussing the role of insurance companies for many months. i also believe the president will have additional things to say on aspects of waste, fraud and abuse as it relates to health care. >> robert, asking about the well-being of members of congress i have to ask when you had a chance to talk to rahm emanuel whether he [inaudible] with your that is standard practice. >> i have not asked him. >> can you speak to the larger issue -- i understand he
resigned in the democrats don't want to talk. he shifted his story what is the reason why he left but he left on these charges speaking the democrats, the white house democratic leaders wanted to push him out because he is a no on health care. can you deal on that? >> i addressed this largely this morning keeping in mind that on wednesday he announced he would not seek reelection because of a health problem he said was recurrence of cancer. thursday he said he wasn't running because not because of cancer but because of his youth of still the language and friday started to take responsibility for his actions at the different events and we learned that the ethics committee was looking into his actions relating to sexual harassment. so i don't know why i would give any weight to what he said on the fourth day anymore than i
would on the previous three days. the notion that somehow the white house had anything to do with the series of events that have caused him to not seek reelection and ultimately leave the house, the notion somehow we were involved in that i think is as i said this morning silly and ridiculous. >> i just want to ask about a different story that is also confusing. a couple of days ago pakistani sources continue to even say today that they believe that the american al qaeda officials has been captured. various u.s. officials insisted no he hasn't been. can you categorically say that he hasn't been captured? >> i will say we have no confirmation that he is in custody. >> broadly speaking about u.s. pakistani relations we have heard for months things are very
bright and u.s. and pakistan intelligence officials are working together cooperatively. this seems to suggest that pakistani officials may not be on the same page. how do you support that? >> i don't know the defense that transpired on saturday and sunday. we have maintained -- we have always maintained we did not have independent confirmation that he was in custody. i would refer you to the pakistanis if you have further questions about that. >> the last couple of days we have had to world leaders from el salvador and now greece. it's been traditional with the white house when the leaders are here the president of the united states will take questions from u.s. and international leaders. we've had two leaders in 24 hours and no questions. in fact today's meeting is closed to the media altogether.
>> the president is a public event at 5:30 in the east room. we did not want to take the time from the meeting today to do statements when the president will do statements in public. >> [inaudible] >> we made the determination based on time to handle these events as we did. >> what is the president's objective getting out of washington if he believes everything on health care that needs to be said has been set what is he trying to add to the conversation? >> i think the president has -- i think over the past several weeks we have seen an announcement insurance companies have made as the rates have skyrocketed and letters have gone out saying your insurance is going to go up 39% or 60% or just in virginia i think there was an article today additional 20% increase. the president wants to make the
case again for what happens if we walk away. what happens if we start over. if we walk away and start over individuals continue to get letters watching their health insurance go up again 39, 60, 20%. the president believes it's important to demonstrate again for the american people why health care reform is so important. >> hasn't he made that case the last year? is in this time spent better in washington working on the hill? >> we have phones to work quite well on the air force one. >> miers' it a problem for the white house speech to the singing of the deadline use it is not in their time when? >> not that i can think of, no. >> you have a limited amount of time to get the bill passed and it feels a little bit like déjà to [inaudible]
>> again i can only in part the information given to me based on conversations they had with capitol hill. i have got no better guidance on what mr. hoyer as saying. saxby to number one focus on jobs and now health care. he also scheduled a meeting on immigration and a meeting today on energy. is there any concern about muddying the the message [inaudible] -- >> i think the senate has an important vote today on moving forward on this second piece of legislation they will consider this year that relates to creating an environment for renewed economic growth. the president will speak later in the weekly export strategy
and with adults to help create good paying jobs for the future but look, the president also had a meeting this morning on haiti. the president has other national security meetings after he sees he's in his current meeting with greece. so, look, the president is going to have meetings on a number of different topics throughout the day on any given day but again we talk about economics and jobs being most important. if you are a small business owner having to decide whether or not you can continue to provide benefits for somebody that's an economic issue and a jobs issue if you are getting that letter in the mail that says your health insurance is going to go up 39 or 40%, that relates very directly to your own economics.
>> i think you said the president has not made any calls this week on health care -- >> that i'm aware of. i can go back and checked. >> we are getting e-mails constantly from both sides about democrats waving and on his signature issue you'd think he would be calling them up constantly. is this an indication he thinks he can't change their mind? >> item think we would have flown to philadelphia if we didn't think we would make a difference. i think the president laid out a very forceful case for the need for health care reform -- >> are there specific numbers working on philadelphia? >> i don't -- i think more than just members in one geographic region watch the news. i think their constituents watch the news. >> he feels powerless to change their mind in directly. >> i don't think that is the case. >> is indonesia, leading
indonesia flexible? a house vote on the senate bill is it possible you guys are taking -- >> of their information suggested that vote could happen before we leave. >> meaning so that is there any flexibility or are you going to lead was -- >> we are planning on and have made plans to leave as scheduled. >> the lunch today for any significance on the fact all from the chicago area -- >> we've gotten different groups of people that come in different -- >> is it something they put together? >> he was here on something separate and added to the launch but it's nothing more than a good cross section for the
president to get feedback and understanding from them on what they are seeing in their economy. he's been in the meeting and i have not gotten there yet. >> is robyn the democratic nominee in missouri going to be at tomorrows fund-raising event for all of these just for claire mccaskill? >> it's my understanding checking yesterday these are joint fund-raising events in conjunction with the ds sec that would go to help -- >> i don't have that answer but i can check. >> the nobel money -- >> i haven't gotten a recent update on that. >> where is it? >> i assume that it's -- >> [inaudible] [laughter] >> i estimates with the committee. >> he does not have the money. >> not that i'm aware of.
>> doesn't he want it? >> that's what we are working on this is a better question for the nobel committee interest bearing account -- >> nobody in the presence circle. >> bill, give the money back. [laughter] >> i thought we was weird bill wanted to buy my lunch and as good as i hoped would be. >> who gets the interest in the end? >> i don't have the slightest idea because i haven't fought -- >> it's based on somebody's will so i assume the committee which which the process is named.
can you guys get together and maybe -- i don't know what interest rate. sorry. >> of the reason the prime minister of greece is here is he's trying to now been international to go after short-sellers. he's got sarkozy and angel merkel. is president obama going to become a member of the antishort-selling? >> we discussed the that she 20 and spurred increased durham to boost ratings and certainly i think that you all well know how the president's great interest and enacting financial reform this year. i have not seen the proposal that he's put forward and i haven't gotten a full readout. the meeting is ongoing. it to the degree to which this was discussed again i know they were -- the list of topics was likely to be including a the
economy but also to be more broad than that. >> the president spoke of the brookings institution yesterday and seems to think the reason he came out on international markets on the lower interest rate is because the short sellers are manipulating the market. it does the white house agree? >> i would have to check with the economic team. i know that greece had to make some decisions about its spending. i don't believe that was going to be something that was addressed directly in this meeting but i can wait and see what the readout said. >> it's unusual for a president to comment about the internal communications of the corporation or business. i'm wondering what led to his comments yesterday about this goldman sachs conference call and what the source was
attributed to. >> that's been on the internet and in newspapers and i think i had last week a report by some one on wall street saying specifically wellpoint which owns and some was set to be a winner if health care reform didn't pass. >> are we expecting to continue to comment on the communications conference call and so forth and other businesses? >> i think you can believe the president will continue to do that if there are those on wall street believe that insurance companies stand to gain in a big way if health care reform doesn't pass because that's in the interest of millions of
policyholders that possessed individual insurance on the market from these different companies and how it affects the bottom line. the president again the president went to a meeting secretary sebelius was having to discuss that the president had received precisely by one of these companies and how that impacted a 50-year-old woman who was having to make the decision between whether or not to give up the house and her family for decades or purchase self insurance even though she had changed her deductible to try to get a more affordable rates. i think that is exactly what health care reform is all about.
>> robert, do you have questions in the form of u.s. aid. what about imf? >> i will get a readout from what their discussions have been. i don't know if this is going to come up or not. >> on a related point the european commission president once did she 220 curse what derivatives did chancellor angela merkel today said she wants to go beyond the g20 agreements and the president's endorsement tougher regulations, tools to crack down on stuff like that. what the president be willing to go beyond the agreements he's already had in place? >> i'm not sure the president has had an opportunity to look at what chancellor merkel has proposed or has in mind. again i know they discussed as you mentioned the discuss these topics in pittsburgh only a few
months ago and we believe they are setting about a new series of rules on how our economy can and shouldn't operate in order to prevent the type of collapse we saw in september 2008. i have not seen the -- >> are they looking into this? >> i will check with them and see -- >> one last question. does the president of a standing invitation to join the broadcasting marjah i'm sorry? >> does the president of the invitation to join the broadcast at the nca? >> i hope so. chip is going to e-mail somebody right now. i know he greatly enjoyed a
play-by-play at the duke georgetown game. >> [inaudible] >> but i don't -- >> [inaudible] >> a you check on the nca. >> will he release the brackett before he goes to indonesia or -- [inaudible] [laughter] >> right, we will -- of course issue brackett before the first game. i know -- i can -- we can smell out the trick questions. >> i presume march 18th is important not just for the house action but to have time to deal with whatever fixes need to be arranged after that to act for the schedule and two week recess. that's why march 18th is important in the eyes of the white house. i guess what i'm asking the house leadership does not endorse, it doesn't to what's
practical. if the schedule slips is the white house okay or open to the idea of this debate stretching into april and into may? >> i don't want to get into a series of a long beaded hypothetical except to say again the information i passed on last week about march 18th the day the president leaves for indonesia and ultimately australia was something that we gleaned from conversations had with capitol hill. in terms of -- >> if on march 18th they are not ready and it flops over the next week like it's coming off the rails and it's no longer doable is march 18th something america watching this debate should circle on its own calendar? this is the moment a faction as defined by the white house. >> wife watched graphics about the defining moment of health care virtually every third day going on more than a year so i
will stay out of it. based on conversations we had with capitol hill -- i still think i have not been given any information that leads me to believe march 18th isn't a doable day. >> -- information i guess would be the question. >> i don't know the answer to that. it is weird to talk to you guice sometimes. no, i'm joking. again, i think that -- sprick there does appear to be disconnected. you don't deny that, do you? >> there seems to be disconnect again, major, this was information i was given based on conversations people have in this building with capitol hill. >> is that information still old or is it fresh information that's now -- >> i haven't been given information today based on
anything a pretty scene that it's different >> what's just say for the sake of argument the house passes the senate bill. something the reels. what the president sign the senate bill passed by house and that would be something on minds of all of the democrats. they wonder if they don't work for the reconciliation process. >> no, the president has outlined a series of and put on the internet fixes to that legislation that i think are important for health care reform. i think we will get all of that donner. >> vice president biden didn't talk about it today there are palestinian officials speaking up on those negotiations saying this is undermining the trust the hope was being rebuilt by the indirect talks. i would like your comment on the
talks. >> the proximity talks. i believe as you know you said the vice president is in the region providing the vice president will have a longer statement on this shortly. i will say this, the united states condemns the decision today by the debt limit of israel on the dance planning for the housing units in east jerusalem. >> do you see that as a slap in the face? >> i do not believe that it is either the substance or the timing is particularly helpful and i think it runs counter to the very productive talks that the vice president was having in the region. >> was this communicated in any way, shape or form before the president arrived in the region? >> not that i'm aware of. i can check on that and like i said, i will -- our viewpoint on
this and of the united states going decades back on this topic i believe is well-known throughout the world. again the vice president will have a longer statement on this. it may even come while i am standing up here. >> the inspector said this afternoon sestak in his opinion on the allegation he was offered a job not to run against the vendor needs to back it up and claims his accusation is hurting the white house damaging its reputation. you told us a couple times he would check on this. number two -- >> i don't have enough to it but let me see if i do the needed -- >> -- senators comment on this? >> [inaudible] with the chicago folks in any way coincidental to today as far as the politics?
>> obviously he knows a bit from chicago -- david from chicago. i don't know if he's going to meet with patrick while he's here. alexis is the democratic nominee for the united states senate and has the support and backing of the white house. >> yes. >> just a quick question on the start to negotiations. russian foreign minister lavrov said today he expects a deal in the next two or three weeks. do you agree? >> the negotiations started again in geneva. i have not seen a time line on that. they are working all the last few remaining issues and we are
certainly hopeful that can get done. >> do you think it needs to get them before the president's non-proliferation summit in april? >> i think the president and the team are in the mind set that if it only -- if it were to only take a day to get a deal that is in our interest and we hope it doesn't take longer than that but if it takes quite frankly many more weeks past april to get something that we believe is in our best interest then we are not looking to rush the negotiations in order to meet to have a signing ceremony prior to that in part a meeting with countries throughout the world. yes, sir. specs before, robert. friday and saturday "the new york times" and "washington post" respectively had front-page stories about the recent events involving congressman former chairman trinkle and cal fire patterson
-- governor pattersons of this was refueling the charge for the culture of corruption. is this something the president is concerned about or has discussed in any way related to the midterm elections? >> this relates -- this has been a hallmark of an issue that the president has worked on. as i said i think last week as a state senator, as a united states senator and as president. the president doesn't work on ethics reform because it may or may not be a strategy for the midterm elections. the president has believed since coming to elective office in illinois as i sit here rules are in place for a reason that everyone must follow those rules regardless of who you are or what your name is and if those
rules were breached or broken each person that breaks the rules can and should be dealt with by whatever respective body they belong to whether it is a governor or a member of the house or the senate. this is an issue the president has taken serious for a long time. >> the other thing is right now on capitol hill rumors swirl that congressman rangel will soon announce he will not seek reelection. has he had private conversations with president in the last week? >> no he has not. >> around the hotel where the insurance industry executives are meeting demonstrators to support the president on health care reform surrounding the building threatening to make citizen's arrest of the executives and many of them managed to get arrested. is that kind of civil disobedience helping the president on health care reform?
>> i don't know the public relations value of that. i will say this: the last weeks have highlighted the developments in the four individuals in dealing with a very and even insurance markets. secretary sebelius has asked to speak with -- speak to the insurer's tomorrow morning. >> why didn't she accept the invitation when they first asked her? >> i don't know when they invite her. >> now she's running to them saying she wants to speak. >> i know she's anxious to speak to them as she was here in the roosevelt room about the type of the rate increases that we have seen over the past many weeks.
many people have become far more aware of the struggles individuals and small businesses have in conflict reading cost and price of health insurance and the real-life ramifications that it has. again the letter the president read to the executives last week about having to make the decision about whether to keep your house or even as you changed the amount of money even as you change your co-payment and your deductibles watching premiums skyrocket to the point you're having to make the decision i think the president believes that as you heard him say quite passionately yesterday the time for us to act on this is now. >> what is the response of the do not allow her to speak to marlo? >> i hope it doesn't have anything to do -- i hope it doesn't have anything to do with fact that yesterday she released a letter asking many of the
executives to justify the type of rate increases that we have seen even as by all accounts their companies are doing quite well profit ys. i hope it isn't related to that and i hope it doesn't mean as they sent letters to individuals and increase their insurance by 39% that they won't take also the time to act wearily justify this increase is for policyholders and the american people. >> you sent the president is going to talk about [inaudible] literalists weeks? >> i believe there is a speech on thursday about -- a little bit about what the president spoke about in the state of the union. >> robert, do you know what we can expect a decision on the trial? >> i don't expect a decision of
that for several or many weeks. >> will that be the president's decision? >> the president has gotten involved because congress has actively been fault in and then you options for any trial involving khalid sheikh mohammed. the president's strong equity in this is seeing that after many long years the justice is brought. >> robert obviously the vp is the highest-ranking official has traveled to the middle east. is the president planning to go this year? >> i don't have a calendar in front of me if there's -- certainly nothing that we have announced and nothing that i can recall from memory in the next couple of months. >> will he do it this year? is that in the timeline? >> let me see if there's plans.
>> philadelphia yesterday reporters were prevented from talking to people when they set up barriers cahal 6 feet wide to keep us from people -- >> owls the benefit of the people. >> pardon me? [laughter] >> i was not on the trip. >> when the president left security guards kept reporters from talking to anyone in the room. what does the white house because of that and will you work to stop that from happening in the future? >> i will try to find out more information on the series of defense that you're talking about. >> that should be standard policy. >> i don't -- >> you don't want security preventing -- >> hold on, hold on. let me find out -- i don't know whether that has to do with transportation. don't know what that has to do it. certainly we are willing to look
into what surrounded that -- >> if the reports are true -- [inaudible] >> i know you have a show at 9 a.m. and you might want to do a segment on this but let me get an answer before we get into a series of tough things. >> [inaudible] >> absolutely, yes. >> what are the prospects of cat and trade on the hill? >> the president as he is going to do and hoped to do yesterday and then a plan, senator gramm the flight got canceled. the president wants to get an update from bi-partisan lawmakers in the house and senate on a series of proposals and get an idea where those are. as it relates to cap and trade obviously the house has passed legislation relating to
cap-and-trade and the president's strong feeling is to transition from depending the wheel and a clean economy we need a strong incentive to do that. senator gramm, senator kerrey, senator lieberman are all working on a proposal like that in the senate and i know the president is hopeful to get an update on just from them but others in the house and senate working on these issues. >> is cap-and-trade doable this year? >> putting together a coalition of somebody like senator kerry and senator gramm who represent obviously different political philosophies demonstrates yes it is certainly possible to do that. >> robert, the president didn't go to the gridiron dinner and isn't giving this year.
is there any message the president is sending to the media or the gridiron? >> he will be in indonesia. that is the message from this year. >> [inaudible] >> if he went to the radio correspondents dinner last year and is going to the white house correspondents' dinner as well. yes? >> to follow on david if question, the energy meetings today, we shouldn't expect a tall figure passes we shouldn't expect the president to pivot and start pushing cap-and-trade in the coming days and months? >> let me not get ahead of the update the president gets today from those involved in these negotiations and in these talks. look, i know the president believes strongly we need to get something done and if you see the president has already demonstrated a willingness with his announcement on an additional -- a kalona for the
first reactor built in three decades that we have to look how we address and tackle the problems of dependence on foreign oil with a broad approach that includes as i said a strong incentive to move towards a clean energy economy. >> first, congressman stupak said he felt more optimistic yesterday but the process of negotiations on abortion language. does the white house share that optimism and can you remind us about what set of legislative language is being crafted. >> i don't know whether nancy has spoken directly with them. we took optimism in many ways from the same article. >> the second question as a follow on major which is a lot of distrust between the house and senate democrats would be able to pass reconciliation.
there was a sort of a count about which senators have agreed to do reconciliation with the 50th being mark begich. does the white house view that as a commitment if any sort from the senate democrats that they would lack of the reconciliation. cynics say the last part again. >> i will slow down. >> you're goodbye just didn't catch -- did you say act? >> the 50th vote -- >> is that a signal to the house the senate will act? i just didn't hear the last word. obviously i feed the commitment from the 50 you mentioned demonstrate what we believe all along which was obviously these to pieces of legislation needed to work largely in the tandem as a correction to the bill that had previously passed the senate and we are hopeful that they pass this in the next few days in the house.
on today's washington journal, we took to a wall street journal reporter about the war and its financial markets and increase's debt crisis. this is 40 minutes. >> host: this is the headline in "the wall street journal" this morning. greece seeks u.s. support for training and speculation. peter eavis is joining from new york this morning reporter with "wall street journal." peter, let me show the viewers with the greek prime minister had to say yesterday on this issue and then we will come back and talk about it. gues>> billing without traffic lights would slow down the cars. let's make the market work for us. greece, you're up, we have confidence, trusting in each
other as partners. there was a debate about whether the european union would work, and then if it was better for it to be big or strong. even now there are debates or is it a nonentity disappearing off the map? up by view is of t my view is that the world needs more europe, not less. >> host: prime minister papandreou will meet with president obama today as well with trash -- treasury secretary geithner. peter eavis what is he saying about financial regulation and how you suspect u.s. will respond? >> i suspect he will be
trying to find out whether or not there is any real evidence that greece has been made a target by so-called speculators. we have this inquiry into whether certain hedge funds have been the colluding against the euro. not decrease as far as i can see but i would imagine he just wants to say to secretary geithner and the president we don't want anything that should not be going on happening that could affect us because that would make us more to handle a crisis. i don't know if he will get too any sort of feedback on what is happening unimagined they would not be supportive of any strong manager at -- measures to rein in currency speculation price disparity will come away quite empty-handed. >> host: is increase seeking financial help from united states many maybe
aware of their situation in that country. >> no. they are not event in meeting that much even from beyond the stage from europe itself. at this stage we're not getting anything from the u.s. >> host: what does the prime minister want? why would he come at this point*? >> guest: he is under the impression i am not sure if this was timed to happen now anyway but we saw a lot of stories in newspapers including "the wall street journal" about the currency speculation, investors targeting greece as the country and betting against it pricing he feels under siege because of that and seeing secretary geithner in particular "this is it" too much. i doubt if you get a sympathetic ear because
secretary geithner is in favor of any special measures to rein in any special markets but he wants to let his grievances be known because it is making it a very difficult for that country's to manage the crisis. that is not to say they have not put themselves in this situation. by half. we he is going around to get any help that he can at this stage. >> host: what is the united states proposing with regulations compared to what europe is proposing? >> guest: with regard to increase? >> host: financial regulations across the board. >> guest: that is a good question. we're supposed to do this together. europe and the u.s. working on breaking regulations coming through the g20 affecting everybody equally. the problem with that is it can take forever. what you have seen especially if the u.s. with
the above administration moving forward of certain things they want to see done ahead of what might be happening in europe at the same time you have an is going on in congress which will lead to a different set of financial regulations in europe. but overall going across two continents it will take a long time. are they trying to make if the banks a safer and a surgeon market safer. i would say how strong is it? i would say it is mediocre but i don't think we will go any further than that because we don't want to freak out the market's. >> host: you are talking about what the united states is proposing precarious europe proposing something stronger? >> guest: no. it is about the same. maybe slightly weaker. basically they're hoping to leave the banks as they are
and strengthen with a key and to make more markets transparent but if you look at what they've wanted to do, it is not that radical. they're not going that far. the reason for that is partly because they believe the banks are necessary to get the economy going or if you do too much you could trim the operations and philosophically a think they are against that. >> host: take a step back and explain what is the situation increase increase -- teenine and how has the european union responded? >> it is an interesting situation review have a very unhealthy fiscal situation exist for several years where the budget deficit was growing and give misspending going up and nobody really cared about it when everything was fine in the
world and a very long point* we had most of 2002 could borrow very cheaply if you were a government nobody seemed to care about when you could pay it back and we have the credit crisis. at that point*, that caused all of the economy is in the world to slowdown that meant higher unemployment, higher government spending. all of a sudden people started to focus on the deficits across the world. like markets do they always pick out the weakest part of the weakest is a greece because of the size of the government and the size of the deficit and naturally became the focus and people started to look what was going on and said it is unsustainable. they may default on their debt to protect the point* europe had to ration and stitch together some solution. interestingly you have all of this opposition to the bailouts in a strong country like germany so basically they have to make greece do
most of the work itself. they have not pulled in money to help them but said we will stand behind the rear of to go now and cut as much spending as you can and cut or taxes think you're fiscal house in order very quickly. it will be particularly difficult for that country because of how long they have for the adjustment. the unfair factor is it is not the only country with fiscal problems of course, but markets picked out the weakest and resell the with bear stearns said is the first to collapse during the credit crisis there the first to go and the same thing is happening with countries and that scares a lot of people they knew of. >> the greek prime minister covered it. go to c-span.org if you want to see or listen to the entire speech. he said he described plans to sharply reduce the
deficit, and shrink public-sector salaries, raise the retirement age and in greece taxes. he vowed to curb tax evasion saying the were fined 5,000 greeks declare in new incomes of 100,000 heroes are more and he promised to crack down on corruption and in greece transparency. howard does that and the european union and our plans to respond how does that impact the united states, if at all? >> guest: first let me say that adjustment is extremely difficult to do because it leads to a lot of political opposition and it probably will not get done. the history of fiscal crisis is the adjustment can take forever and it often does not get done it in the other country will default sell to answer your question because it probably has not been taking care of the fiscal problems will ferret -- flare up again in
europe and that will cause people to look at other countries at imbalances and naturally they will look at the u.s. situation and start to ask questions. they are already doing that and there have been plenty of days and i'm sure you cover that. but i'm the days when you see one contributing into real problems everybody starts to look at the next victims. the look for the week a stand the strongest but at some point*, there will be trouble for the u.s. because they will have a bond issue it is hard to sell. everybody chatters about when than next one comes. i am not saying when that will happen, but looking at the numbers how they pan out over the next five years unless something is done two raise spending or taxes come every country will suffer from something like what in
greece is going through. maybe not as serious but there will be a reining in of significance a porsche -- proportions. >> another headline to think about men's game backing this plan for the imf style body but it is spurring political integration saying the greek prime minister yesterday called the european monetary fund this sort of a medium term solution. did not look at it to favorably and "the financial times" reports as german chancellor merkle says the new e.u. treaty would be needed to create a european imf. what is a likelihood as this? >> guest: i think it is very unlikely because what they are basically saying, you can dress it up calling the european monetary fund apprised
basically it is a very large bailout fund. think you'll have much support particularly in a country like germany for that. if germany does not want it to happen it will not happen. they know when push comes to shove the companies to fund that will be the strongest and they will not have the support for that in their electorate. as you probably know when you have a new treaty in the european union you have to usually have a vote. i cannot see this getting past the regular electorate especially in a country like colin toward germany. also it goes completely against the spirit of the original activity with a single currency and the the master treaty based on the adr udall led to countries overspend and to stay within minutes. so on one hand it last on
fiscal rectitude with than it designed to bail-out who was not doing anything on the fiscal front. there probably eight bailing out some countries but nothing like this. >> fairfield new jersey we're talking about the global financial markets. >> caller: peter, paying attention to what you are saying, i would like to know why you speak with a disdain about the victims of the fraud that was perpetuated by the people you admire so much? the same people who raided our savings, homes, are the same people now going after small countries. you don't see anything wrong with that you speak with irony and a stain and should be ashamed of yourself to
seven he is referring to goldman sachs being investigated with their relationship with greece? >> guest: rightly so. you can believe in financial markets and free markets and still want to see goldman sachs be investigated for what it did for greece. that bank, if it was involved in any attempt to mask the true level of greek debt coming was not doing what it should have done. this time and -- financial markets thrive when things are transparent. think goldman sachs even preaches that purpose if it was doing anything to hide the greek level of debt and if it is true, definitely they should be singled out and have some sort of penalty to pay for that. it is not that anybody delights going after the small countries. not all. it is awful but greece
relies on the markets and put itself in the situation where needs the bond market. no country, i think, should put itself in a situation where it relies on and strangers of the country wants to sell a bond it puts itself up the mercy of markets and that is weird greasy eight -- greece stands with itself and it is unfortunate but. >> host: wow! greece successfully sold 5 billion euros in bonds last week it has 20 billion worth of debt maturing in april or may. >> caller: i would not look to the -- e.u. for any type of recovery. it was a mistake the collapse of the soviet union, the unification of germany should have been a
large investment package. you will not get anywhere with europe. we need a global international glass-steagall. long term credit system, low interest rates. glass-steagall was repealed here in the united states 10 or 11 years ago and it has led to a total collapse. with any type of regulation or protection for the population. of like to point* out last tuesday in texas the democratic primary mr. rogers won the primary 33% of the bell. and her campaign was to impeach obama and save nasa and international glass-steagall on the means to protect the consumers. you have no investment except for the monetary
system of brian by rothschild and the british and they are bankrupt. >> host: we got your point*. which you think of the international bill that he is talking about on that level? >> guest: i think that probably but have been the wisest thing to do after the credit crisis. okay we see a lot of the problems occurred with investment banking units that were very heavily reliant on short-term funding and have very opaque balance sheets, a lot of derivatives on the books, and an implicit government guarantee because when they got into trouble nearly all of them except for lehman brothers was bailed out. they should have said because the government bailed you out you now have to separate those very volatile investment units from the traditional banks
because we don't want to give any more government backing to those ever again. it is not fair for the taxpayer or bad for democracy overall. if you call it glass-steagall that is a good idea it was simply the rule that came in after the great depression that separated investment-banking operations from traditional banks. of happened in this country it happened for decades and it did not stop prosperity in this country through the '50s are '60s or '70s or '80s probably help that because it stopped the investment banks from becoming too big. to go back to that people say that is in the past but he will make the system healthier because you don't have any government with the investment banking part of jpmorgan chase 1/2 to survive on its own feet. >> host: the independent
line. >> caller: we have to go to the roots of the great economic problem and ask ourselves who is the adviser to the greek government? we know it was cooking the books with the excessive borat -- bring. but goldman sachs from the london office was pushing for more money and assembly was giving the greek government advice. i think we should see some e-mails between the top advisers. the other issue is greece and euro. everything became so expensive it seems like in the argentinian curses the class was more expensive than in germany. right now the global financial institutions are pushing for drastic cuts to privatize water, some big items committed to the reductions with the health care costs and many other
things but we have to investigate the cause the same thing can happen in portugal, spain and maybe ireland any time soon. thank you very much. >> host: before you respond 12 show a headline on portugal that says portugal sets out a plan to tackle the deficit. go ahead. >> guest: i think there is a role to be looked at for what the role the investment banks played in advising these governments and i am sure, i hope that is being looked at the cuss it goes back to the goldman transaction with greece if the bank was helping a country in such a way it made dead-end look smaller than it was, that is obviously wrong. that should be prompted to see what is happening there of course. i can't kind of agree there is definitely in need to
look at the bank's role in this, but again greece put itself in the situation with unsustainable spending and that is the main problem here on the table. it is incredible when you go to europe or portugal or greece and you buy a glass of wine and you harijan converted into dollars, it is incredibly expensive the reason for that is the euro. these countries which have devalued over time and you would have converted into a glass of wine it would be the price he would have expected because it is incorrect but what happened is they are kept higher than they ordinarily would happen because of the currency zone and that is another problem because what happened with argentina and they ended up
a buy rating and that is the way to make the currency keep cheaper and that makes the economic recovery faster. that never solves anything or anything in the long run but it does give you a break to which you can help the economy recover. greece cannot do that. that is why they are in a difficult situation of a heart not to the year they would be devalued ring by no. that means they have to do everything from fiscal cuts getting everybody often government table our people and not paying their taxes. that is very difficult to carry out because it is political in nature. >> host: "the financial times" why the rovell continue to begin and in the opinion piece, the ural has been a smashing success what is the status? >> i think it is that the year to reach this point*
has ever been in its history. i think it survives but what happens it survives at a big cost to the budget deficits of europe and therefore it will remain a relatively weak currency. currency valuations are relative so is it we can again? with china or the dollar? the u.s. has problems in the dollar will begin. and vero might start to look stronger. at this point* the politicians across the line have said we will effectively stand behind a country that is in trouble. may have basically said if push comes to shove we will bail them out and then we weaken the credibility of the arrow because it does not supposed to be liked that and told the markets it will happen. >> caller: above like to
know what is the difference between the greece situation where there to pay back the money and the switzerland's situation where they say they will not payback? hi watch c-span a lot and i get a lot of information from ron paul who is on the other show. and he has a bill where bernanke says flat out he will not tell people where the money went. listening to npr writer i read that to the world bank for gave 180 nation's foreign debt as long as they give up natural resources. then you have david rockefeller and george soros calling for a world government to bankrupt america to bring america down to bring the rest of the robot. ron paul was the winner of the cpac straw poll greta
wodele brawner i think it is iceland and not switzerland it does not want to pay back the debt. yes. i think the situation is quite a bit different because greece has a much larger and has a thriving tourism industry and over the long run could get a soften to a healthier states. they have a smaller economy and large debt i would imagine they will not pay off and i think the british will back off at some point* >> host: the independent lines. >> caller: good morning. thank you for taking my call. i am just an average person calling because it is all intertwined.
it all stems from greed, the people who caused all of this, but they are still getting money and bailouts. i want to know when will be stand up as regular citizens and stop this? right now it is greece and i slammed but who is next? >> host: who is next? what country? >> guest: i think real high available in the market for a while but then something for somebody will have trouble borrowing by the and it will start up than the e.u. will have to come to the rescue of somebody else. like i have said a lot today come in these adjustments are powerful and impossible to do prickly and from a political point* of view wrenching for a country and they probably will not get done which means the markets will make it harder to borrow. and the question more about
all of the banks are profiting while all of the other countries are suffering, there is definitely a case to be made the banks, they were rescued 2,008 so they should have had more radical restructuring but again there really is the country's zebra beyond their means that put them in the situation is a year and and if you don't want to rely on the market then don't put yourself in a position where you need to borrow in the market. it is a very simple situation. if you don't want to borrow from a bank, then don't spend so much that you need to borrow from the bank. that is where we are at. that is where these countries have put themselves. >> host: writing in "the wall street journal" opinion section monday the only lever the greeks have to counter the pressure to cut
spending and increased taxes is to threaten to drop the euro or, as suicide. the eurozone would never miss greece which accounts were 2% of the total gdp but greece would miss the eurozone. the euro exchange would be revived. but it would be on the sidelines with the imf looking for a new client but it has been told to but out. what would the imf to step in? >> that is an interesting question. usually recommends the things that greece have already committed to do but often the imf comes in when a country has devalued the currency also. greece cannot do that because it is the euro.
if the imf when it came to south korea in the 1990's, that country would have devalued at that point* which would have made the economic recovery of bodies year. greece cannot do that. don't know what it would do any differently. i don't see how they would help put off further technical expertise. they cannot take the easy way out. >> host: the democratic line at. >> caller: in the last depression, the banks had very little regulation. we did not have no fdi sepracor one president have the courage and others would is missing in washington right now. he had the courage to take on wall street and set the regulations on the bank's
nine and a lot of places you are referring they start to deregulate. all of these regulations brought all of this fraud into the banking business. >> guest: that is a very good point*. we have a very long point* where banks were allowed to do anything they liked and they did. what it ended up was a housing boom were lots of bad loans were written and i.d.'s, a lot of that would have been stopped with better regulation if it has been a wasted crisis because we had a chance to put the financial sector on at a much cleaner front to make sure practices could not to be done again but we had a chance to make it much more saver or the reforms we will
see enacted will not make it that much more saber. maybe 20 or five for 50 years time. because of our failure to go further now we will have another crisis like this almost inevitably. >> host: the republicans line from california. >> caller: good morning. peter, i am a subscriber and i read it every morning. firewood recommend a newspaper for anyone, especially young people who might need another angle or at another view of business of the opinion page i would strongly recommend it. it might not really satisfy what you want to hear but it gives another side of the story. it is a great newspaper. let's get to the issue of
greece. you said several times greece was suffering from over spending. get down into the breeds of overspending four greece. thinks the majority of the debt created that the government is and cannot sustain the fact giving employees using credible payroll and benefits. i have a follow-up question. would you agree with that? >> guest: that is one of the things. yes. >> host: go ahead with your follow-up. >> caller: never like to equate the greek problem with the california problem that is basically the same problem. the amount of money that we spend that i like to call the special interests that is nothing more than public
employees unions that everyone to the state of california. i was born and raised in this state. it has been trashed. to the good gentleman in massachusetts that wants to bring back glass-steagall. i am in favor of bringing back glass-steagall but how about outlawing the davis-bacon act? that would be a fair trade in my eyes. thank you. >> host: we will move to the democratic line from indiana. >> caller: good morning. i want to speak to something that you said that had a lot of merit. you said the american government, it would be virus to the tangle themselves from supporting large global businesses and allow them to be able if they make it if they fail they fail on their own.
think that is a great idea because i don't think american people should support the business with america in tax dollars if they are a company that will be supported with tax dollars. i don't think a lot of people talk about this because it is like a weird question but they have a lot of merit they are a conspiracy theorist but the wild child they have their hands on a lot of different things. i have researched these people and i am telling you the reason why governments are forced to spend a lot of money because when these people come in they formed the central bank's inside the people's government then gave loan them all of this money than they charge them interest and when it is time to repay as a nation this is the national debt and with interest up on top and this
is how they wind up with worse in the national resources. >> host: we will leave it there. peter eavis? >> guest: it would be comedic if there's one small group of people you could blame but in this case that is not the truth. >> host: south carolina on the independent line too. >> caller: how were you? i would like to follow-up on the last couple of calls. all those that we used to refer to, take a look at the world bank now you have been neocon paul wolfowitz and things have changed for the folks guiding this machinery to accomplish something and there is a bench to what they want to duo duke that a super private sector will
always be better than the government. and can make better decisions. let me ask you a question. if the nation's by agreement are not supposed to be sovereign, a first the west then we bring everybody else in i don't know how you do that with malaysia, but if that is the degree and planned and that is where they are going, how does that look as you try to implement it for the folks that are not that well educated of limited means? they do not have an understanding of what the attempt is. that is where the politics of the far left or the far right. >> host: the role of the world bank? >> again, there is absolutely no evidence with the people orchestrating farah world economy through
the institution. i don't know where people get this stuff. >> years the world bank having this discussion about greece and year out and the debt to saturation? >> guest: again, if the european union can work it out on its own it will go to the imf for greece may choose to go to the imf if that seems more advantageous but i don't think the world bank is a big part of this. basically you have a struggling nation looking for the easiest way out. there isn't one. they'll try to get help from the european union and it may come to them going to the imf as well. we will see what happens bridled thinks zero-based is a part of this.
>> host: the republic of mine. are you with us? sorry. i will move on. on a good democratic line. go-ahead. >> caller: i have one question. if they want to privatize the social security fund and put it into the stock market where would we be today? [laughter] >> guest: we would be in real trouble. >> host: do you have a follow-up? >> caller: i hop all those republican summer pushing for privatization heard that answer and it sinks into their thickheads. >> host: that was our last phone call i want to wrap up the conversation by asking the markets on wall street how it is responding to the
situation in europe? >> guest: they're still watching very closely. everybody knows it is not over and there is so much work to be done. you mentioned portugal earlier, spain, italy, a u.k.. all of the country's are in a very difficult saturation. if the economies themselves don't start to grow, and these willow occur. many economies grow with the governments can pay off the debt but if not the deficits will get bigger and the situations will get worse and we will have more down the road and the markets are just watching for that and looking at every countries statistics in great detail and ready to make bad see
>> what is the status of negotiations on health care in the house? >> ongoing part of they're actively proceeding we hear intrigue, things we cannot print or talk about but there is a lot of things going on. >>host: what do mean you cannot printer talk about? >>guest: they are rumors. nothing is confirmed. they've walked out and we heard that this was proposed but it is of negotiation right now. >>host: and the white house suggested a revised bill will be done by next week, march 18. what did majority leader who year say about that deadline? do when he strongly inferred it would be difficult to me
and asking whether or not they could meet a deadline of march 26 when they leave for the recess. he gave no commitment you never rule anything out but march 18 would be very, very difficult. on march 26 only slightly less. >>host: why is the focus on whether the house will act? >>guest: the house will go first under this scenario now circulated it would pass the senate bill they hundred $71 billion bill passed in the second bill the reconciliation bill will be offered the house will probably go first on bad. it will have to act twice before the senate voted. >>host: who were some of the lawmakers on the fence about the health care legislation? >>guest: start with the house blue dog moderate coalition. 39 democrats voted against
the house bill november 7th. all if not most blue dogs are the first people you have to convince. than the estimated tender 12 house members about senate abortion new-line bridge and a somewhat less restrictive. >>host: what are you watching for most closely as it comes to fruition? >> we're looking to see the details of president obama offered an 11 page outline and we want to see the substance because what matters most is how would affects readers our constituents and the one to explain that in a lucid term and quickly so that is what we're watching. >>host: think you.
[inaudible conversations] the. >> the committee on an ever sure sure will come to order. good morning everyone. thank you for participating in the reconvened meeting with the snow delayed meeting on transportation. i made it an but about the rest of the world. if we all had some mobiles and self respecting people as in minnesota. [laughter] the ice is 30 inches thick on leech lake where this past weekend day held their festival and have some 20,000 people in town to do ice fishing the public doesn't happen in your
district. [laughter] >> almost. [laughter] >> this is to be and will be and was to have them last week but is now the one-year anniversary review the of progress made under this committee's portions of the recovery act. the 14th and serious we have held on the progress made under the stimulus. the act has resulted in 10,340 highway transit and waste water projects breaking ground ball across the country. although having a slow start at epa place various complexities of the rule-making is that need to be done, but every stimulus dollar allocated to the epa
in the revolving loan funds is now under contract. that is a great achievement. the 340 projects have created, sustained, 300,000 direct on project jobs. at least five were six states i have been there to see those some progress. total of claimant from highly transit waste-water treatment directed in those jobs on the supply chain misapplying seen and and gravel and aggregate it with fencing and ibm's that have resulted in over 938,000 jobs. those are jobs this committee has tablet -- tabulated and can account for. i don't speak for the other
committees but we have 15 categories reporting and track the projects down to the millions of hours worked and hours created and sustained and total payroll of job hours created. this is what we promised to do and what we said would be done and it has been accomplished. on one of those direct on-site jobs payroll 1.5 billion. unemployment compensation checks avoided $254 million. those are real accomplishments. those with lives restored
and home mortgages being paid and kids being sent to school, health insurance, union jobs are reinstated in and restored. we need to go on from there. we need to pass the additional main street build the house is slowly making its way not to be derogatory, a painfully toward the resolution of that issue. and renewed the long term it six years transportation bill we have been working on in this committee. a $64,100,000,000 attributed to our committee jurisdiction, we can account for 692 jobs, i am sorry, projects totaling
$56 billion. federal agencies states and partners have obligated 42 point* 3 billion of that for 16,000 projects. and while there is misunderstanding and apprehension of the news reporting milan transportation infrastructure and stimulus dollars, the jobs precede it thought outlay. the state's a word of the bids and contractors began putting there e equipment and personnel on the job site. after the first week of work they send a voucher to the state dot verifying the work has been accomplished and pays the contractor the vouchers federal highway
administration makes the reimbursement buy electronically overnight. the jobs have been in place one week before there is the l.a.. bed is a great misunderstanding and i have to explain that time and again to the news poll. all 50 states and district of columbia from signed contracts were 10,000 projects and work has begun a 9,241. we're completed 3,148, a 2.9 billion in 45 states and the district of columbia. recovery act to bring in the public transit systems closer to a state of repair cutting down on the number of projects in the state portfolio, a state of good repair needs, road seice, bridge service, a transit systems come into
compliance with the engineering standard of the state of good repair. and in completing this work work, states can account for 24,000 miles of road service improvements that is near the half of of the mileage of the interstate highway system. over 1103 decking and reconditioning and widening is an extraordinary accomplishment protect 50 years to do the interstate but now doing 24,000 miles of rain and service. and and the administration reports investment funding provided when completed will result in a purchaser rehab of 10,561 vehicles, 613
locomotives and the rehab of 2,325 passenger and maintenance facilities. amtrak 141 projects. 80,000 concretize. 60 cars. 21 superliners. 15 locomotives. 270 station improvements. faa's has nearly completed all of the 900-- 22 million projects. where runaway improvement projects, 139 airports that account for 11 million operations per year and to taxis that he and dole 8 million annually. one already cited has 1800 projects elah to bid. the waste water project a result in 375 projects, a
60 million people, almost one-third of the west's population now served by sioux word distribution system is. epa has awarded $582,000,000.57 superfund projects. superfund was delayed for 10 years without to reauthorization of the superfund act. the fund was running close at 20 but with stimulus funds we have been able fund 57 projects which to work is underway or completed already of $443 billion. the court of the engineers 772 projects, a 2.8 billion. gsa will report but i do want to say eda has done a
superb job with the meager $147 million, a lot more than that when it left the house knew the 4 billion, but it was a little than unfortunately in conference but that money is all about. not only doing construction projects and industrial parks but launching long-term investments in job creation and job-creating industries operating in the industrial parks. and mr. secretary were with me just recently last week. it was not a recovery act project but a long reviewed the eda project to help develop the first steel mills in the estates.
american steel right next to the american iron ore mine with american workers, american and jobs. this is a very successful report, a successful year, much more to be done and while i mention the 24,000 lay miles of highway improvement, that accounts for 4% of the 576 -- 76,000 miles of highway in america and in the federal highway system that is rated not good, and in poor condition we have a long way to go. that is why agreed need the sixth year of bill. and now mr. mike, thank you for being here and the floor is yours. >> thank you for the almost dried although i did not want you to pick me up. [laughter]
i think the chairman has outplayed some of the facts and statistics that need to be cited. i do think there has been some progress made. we are a little more than a year out right now. of like to commend him for the bipartisan manner in which we both committed to conduct oversight and i think we have definitely followed through being responsible stewards of tax payer dollars. my father has been dead this year 38 years but even though somebody has long passed, in your memory you have some haunting phrases and things and philosophies they left you with regard remember my father was very
frugal and some may accuse me of the same treatment he used to say it is not how much you spend about how you spend it. not only do have an obligation to report on the sum of the positive things i do have to commend some agencies like epa working hard to get some money out. eda has a good record of around $4,000 and actually creating jobs. they have the smallest amount, one of the biggest percentage of creating jobs with a small amount of money. of rowling have to do better. we were trying for our the
63 point* 5 billion within the $787 billion i was just recounting how we came back in december or something and ask to put a package together. then it got whittled down 63 point* five. but unfortunately the total spent today, a 10 point* 1 million his only 16%. we can do better we still have 20 billion of infrastructure not allocated which is still up a pretty high number win this week they will be asking for more. i have no problem putting more into job creation, but we want that to happen. we have to spend what we have been charged with to date. so to get some positive news, the dot fortunately
the economy, help create jobs and to get this country back to a sound economic footing and most of the other problems with sort of fall into line. so i am committed to that. i do have some very serious questions about how some of the money was spent by some of the agencies and we will get into more detail as we hear from the witnesses. with that of those opening comments i yield back. my colleague and partner on this endeavor in the committee and mr. mica was right we had a bipartisan agreement in this committee in december 2008. we had in december 2007 and through much of the year but when the committee's work got swallowed up in a much bigger package and our work was diminished both in size and comparison we had some falloff
understandable. >> for the record i might say we also had an agreement on a six year reauthorization bill and were prepared to move forward with that and niche in a bipartisan, bicameral fashion to move forward and other factors intervened. >> until we ran into the can do administration that didn't believe in it. you don't have to say that. i did. [laughter] there's always hope for change. thank you. >> it's coming. under previous agreement we have two minutes for subcommittee chair ranking member ms. johnson welcome, despite your new meckler. >> it will be off soon. >> that's good news. >> for thursday.
it's been on since january 4th. i am truly tired of my partner. mr. chairman and ranking member think you for holding this hearing and continuing stedfast cut into holding states accountable for the dispersal of stimulus funds. over the past year this committee again and again held hearings on the status of the recovery act funds and as appropriate criticized the effort of both federal and state agencies in getting funds out the door to the american people and this is different because today we have the opportunity to challenge those agencies in states that have been slow to turn this unprecedented federal investment into good paying jobs such as my state of texas that is unique and slow. through this committee's periodic reporting i was concerned to again find my whole state of texas near the bottom of the allocation charts. through the month of december,
so naturally i contacted the state board of transportation and the texas to the texas water board of development why they appear to be slower in getting their stimulus dollars distributed. than most other states. department of transportation assured me all of the funds will be obligated by march 1st step toward decline and the state further maintained that while they may have been one of the fastest states in aggregating fund cities in part because they agreed on a definitive set of criteria for evaluating projects to receive the funds and the criteria included projects that include improved safety of transportation systems, projects on a statewide significance regional priority projects that lever pool of resource projects to create long-term economic projects and areas that are economically distressed and
finally fair distribution of the projects are, the state. texas is a very large stake and has nearly 500 recovery act projects. over five times as many as some smaller states and some of these are large scale projects of which expenditures will be paid out over time provide long-term sustained jobs. so i noted earlier i believe it is also inappropriate to praise agencies and states for their efforts as well and so today i commanded the environmental protection agency and the states for their efforts with the clean water state in the nation's waste water infrastructure. thank you, mr. chairman, for this leadership and i ask the rest of my statement be placed in the record. >> without objection so ordered. we welcome you back and pray for a speedy recovery.
[inaudible] >> we will proceed now with our panel. the chair just make a reminder and for audience is a rule of the committee that there be no audible cell phone or blackberry devices in the course of committee hearings. it is a rule rigorously and frequently insisted on by mr. young and mr. schuster and myself. now we will begin with mr. -- m.
of the said jackson is testifying as we speak of the budget hearing and secretary lahood also would have been here but for this no delay he had a commitment also with the budget in the other body. mr. robert peck, joel speed assistant secretary of army for civil works, john fernandez assistant secretary for economic development, martin rajk. mr. porcari we will begin with you. thank you for being here. >> thank you, mr. chairman, ranking member micha and members of the committee. it's great to be here to talk about the department of transportation's accomplishments that this one year anniversary of the recovery and reinvestment act. as you know, february 17th was that anniversary. we have accomplished much.
i will tell you we have met if reasonable deadline and intend to continue doing so. over all the recovery act provided $48.1 billion for transportation projects for the nation's highways and bridges, transport systems, railways, and shipyards. to date we've obligated $36 billion. that's for more than 13,600 projects around the country. this is a substantial progress in a relatively short amount of time and it was made possible in our transportation program because the recovery act reliance on the d.o.t. existing formula based structures and authorities and procedures. the single largest portion, 27.5 billion was targeted at improving highways and bridges. more than 2,160 projects have already been completed and over 7600 are currently under way. these projects represent more than just infrastructure improvements. these projects are helping communities throughout the nation. already, the federal highway
administration funded $722 million in contractor payroll payments from the recovery act projects. on the chance is slight, the recovery act provided $8.4 billion to be used for transit systems during the past year the federal transit administration has approved purchase of more than 11,000 bus and rail vehicles. these purchases support domestic manufacturing jobs right here in america. the recovery act also provided the federal aviation administration with a total of $1.3 billion additional resources for badly needed improvements of the nation's airports, the majority of the fund is 1.1 of the $1.3 billion were designated as airport improvement grants. over the past year we awarded 100% of the funds for those for a total of 360 projects, and i would point out we originally thought we could find 300 projects that because of the good bids we are able to fund 360 -- three injured 34 different airport locations.
together these efforts resulted in approximately 6,000 jobs on the aviation side. on a real all the contributions have resulted in jobs as well. the high-speed rail capability is one of the most exciting portions of the recovery act that $8 billion provided the federal railroad administration is a substantial downpayment on a large high speed rail corridor network across the country and the 13 dead were identified in this first round are a very strong beginning for the networks throughout the country. we also had discretionary grants. last week we awarded the recipients of $1.5 billion worth of tiger grants provided the recovery act. we received more than 1400 applications totalling almost
$60 billion from all 50 states in the territories and the district columbia because of the very strong demand we were able to award fewer than 3% of the projects actual funding. we are hopeful congress will continue this program. it's an innovative multi modal way to attack or more pressing transportation problems and from the strong applications we have we are confident that it would be well received in the future. as president obama made clear in the state of the union address his number-one priority in 2010 is accelerating the pace of job creation. transportation is an important part of the plan to put americans back to work and the president has called for new investment in a wide range of infrastructure so says highway, transit, real, aviation and water designed to get projects out the door as quickly as possible. we think the transportation results achieved in the first year speak for themselves and
demonstrate we can produce these projects and these jobs with long-lasting benefits. we urge congress to consider supporting future jobs creation legislation. again thank you for the opportunity to share our accomplishments over the past year. i look forward to answering your questions. >> thank you, mr. secretary and mr. hooks? >> good morning, sure man oberstar, ranking member mica and members of the committee. thank you for the opportunity to discuss epa progress implementing the american recovery reinvestment act of 2009. one year ago epa was entrusted with more than $7 billion to invest in our economy to rebuild critical infrastructure to create jobs for citizens and rekindle our economy. epa worked diligently to move the money into the hands of its partners and clear the way for the rapid investments in construction, land use and read the filament. i'm glad to be back before you on the committee to report on the progress.
epa obligated 99% of its recovery act funds. they require all the state revolving fund still under contract by february 17th, 2010. these include approximately $4 billion in clean water and 2 billion in drinking water funds. we aggressively reached out to states and territories to meet the spending decline. the administrator personally called the governor's to offer assistance and michael stich recovery act officials to raise concerns where needed and thank them for their efforts and i am proud to say every state and territory through hard work in the under eckert nigh pressure has successfully met the recovery act deadline. recovery act funds under the clean water program have resulted in nearly 1900 assistant agreements and more than 15 under projects were construction has begun. the projects will create thousands of jobs and serve more than 60 million people. in johnson county kansas a $15 million waste water treatment program in print print project will result in entirely energy self-sufficient facility. along with new jobs that project
will provide almost $600,000 of annual cost savings for the repairs and reduce greenhouse gas emissions by more than 9700 metric tons annually. this is the largest grain project kansas contributing to the recovery act requirement that 20% of the srf funds used for innovative projects. and the chairman of johnson county board of supervisors commented investing in green projects as a win-win situation because of johnson counties strong commitment to sustainable become energy conservation and reduction of greenhouse gases. other projects include upgrading pumping stations to increase energy efficiency, water recycling, projects and making greater use of natural processes to address urban storm water runoff. i'm pleased to say that every state of the green projects requirement. through the recovery act the superfund program pundit cleanups at 26 sites that would not have been funded otherwise and supported ongoing cleanup
said 25 more sites. all of the superfund is recovery act funds have been obligated and as of february 18th construction is underway at 30 sites. in south minneapolis minnesota the superfund program will use recovery act funds to remove soil from the yard of approximately 500 homes in a community with levels as high as 2800 parts per million. more than 100 times the level selected in a cleanup remedy. we are removing a significant health threat from people's yards one especially dangerous to children playing in the yards. i also pleased to report as of february 18th the bromfield program obligated 99.7% of its recovery funds and rhode island, recovery grant allowed the city to clean up the last remaining corner lot of a former bromfield site. this would facilitate the completion of 80 million-dollar middle school of redevelopment project. epa is grateful to have been entrusted by congress with tester duty dvorkin $7 billion of recovery act funding. we are proud to be part of the solution for american
communities and families facing economic challenges. these projects have created jobs and the we've communities cleaner and healthier and better places to buy a home or invest in business through the most recent report from the contract and grand stimulus of ward recipients indicated nearly 6800 direct jobs were created or retained and this is just the beginning. for us more construction and planning activities get underway this number should grow. we are excited about these accomplishments and look forward to continuing our work with this committee, our partners and public to insure economically and environmentally healthier country for all americans. thank you again for inviting me to testify and i look forward to answering any questions you might have. >> thank you, mr. hooks, very good and very thorough report. mr. peck. >> good morning sherman oberstar, the ranking member mica and members of the committee. one year ago $5.5 billion funded to the recovery reinvestment at ghaith ag is the unprecedented and exciting opportunity to contribute to the nation's
economic recovery and environmental sustainability. we are helping stimulate job growth and retention in the construction and real-estate sectors as well as develop markets and energy-efficient technologies renewable energy and green buildings. and by the we increase the value of our federal building assets improving the functioning for federal agencies and the public and reduce backlog of needed capital and improvements. since the passage of the recovery that reestablished and met all of our target dates for contract awards and outlays. we awarded $1 billion for the contracts by august 1st, 2009 and as of december 31st, 2009 awarded to billion dollars as of last friday that number was up to $2.5 billion. we are on track to be the next target of awarding contracts totaling $4 billion in other words an additional 2 billion from december by march 31st and $5 billion by the end of this september. we also anticipate expenditures
totalling $1 billion to contractors by september for work completed in other words we wellesley $1 billion by the end of september. that is the equivalent of more than 10,000 job years. we are getting pulled back to work. as of december the recovery act funding recipients indicated 1,646 prime contracting jobs had been funded. we've accomplished these goals in addition to managing our normal capital program. last year the gsa award twice the dollar amount of contracts within eight months that we typically awarded an entire normal year. we surpassed our contract goal in december by $70 million on a $2 billion goal despite awards coming in on average eight to 10% below our projected estimates. we carefully monitor progress and identify variants is early in the project schedules. we've been able quickly to identify and revise our spending plans to reallocating some projects under way towards other projects.
we have updated the plan twice and submitted those revisions to congress. the most current plan includes 261 major projects, seven more than we initially reported again due to the savings, nearly 300 total projects including other small ones in all 50 states the district of columbia and the two u.s. territories. the spending plan revisions we've made represented a reallocation of more than $200 million in savings. in addition to the recovery act on this we expect to receive approximately $1 billion in recovery act funds from other agencies to support their realistic needs. to date we've entered into agreements with those agencies totaling $397,000,000.26 projects and of those we awarded 120 million in contracts. i would point out as you did, mr. chairman, that our obligations that our contract awards flow directly to the contractors and directly to the construction real-estate and architecture engineering sectors even before they become actual payments for jobs.
when we make a contract award money does not begin flowing immediately. but the contract award is a katulis that starts money flowing as contractors began securing financing hiring personnel and taking first steps on the project. moreover, we pay in arrears in other words we have to see actual progress on the ground before we issue a payment so there are jobs being created before they are reflected in the numbers of our outlays. as we move forward with projects we are also including measures to convert buildings and high performance screen buildings. we already installed 37 energy efficiency lighting systems, seven fogle tikrit projects and 36 had been estimating projects. we are currently constructing 49 miti projects, 22 photovoltaic roofs as well as a solar hot water for thermal project. our projects include the huge department of homeland security product at the st. elizabeth campus in washington. the largest federal project in this area since construction of
the pentagon. we have started a job center on the site. we started of robert kennedy center and got more than 445 job applications. we are also leverage and recovery act investments to become a green proving ground of the major federal center in an indianapolis and we intend to install a stick of the art photovoltaic roof with 4500 solar panels. in all of our energy savings are going to result in annual savings of 812 billion pt use, the equivalent of the power it takes to run 21,000 homes. we also launched a pre-apprentice ship with the words and d.c. in portland oregon and both organizations have already graduated class's. in conclusion we were entrusted with an increase in funding to support the construction modernization of high-performance screen buildings the men and women and the gsa have risen to the challenge and we look forward to
working with you and members of the committee as we continue to deliver this work. >> thank you. it's good to see the very consistent and sped up the implementation the gsa which was off to a slow start compared to other agencies that you have made up the time and have a good report here and we will come back with questions later. ms. darcy. >> mr. chairman, members of the committee, thank you for the opportunity to testify to discuss the implementation of a civil works appropriation within the recovery act. if i may i will summarize my statement here and ask my full statement be entered into the record. >> all statements will be included in the record in full. >> recovery act includes funds to meet the intent of the congress to put our fellow citizens to work and help in the recovery of the nation's economy to get the accomplishment of the corps engineers of all was projects through recovery act funding has begun and continues to contribute to the nation's
safety, economy, environment and quality-of-life. recovery act provides funding to the core to accomplish these goals to the development and restoration of the nation's water and related resources. total discretionary funding for civil works and recovery act is $4.6 billion. the corps is following the recovery of the general principles to manage and expand on this to achieve the act stated purposes including commencing expenditures and activities as quickly as possible consistent with prudent management and with the president's intent to apply mary based principles to use the funds for purposes with long term benefits to the nation. nearly all of the $4.6 billion appropriated for civil works has been identified for specific civil works projects and activities. as of february 16th, financial obligations total just over $3 billion. as of the date out blease total $930 million which is updated from the numbers in my completed
statement. there are 830 civil works projects across 49 states and also in both puerto rico and washington, d.c.. both the recovery act projects being carried out by the core excuse me, among those projects being carried out by the corps or 284 navigation projects, 300 for flood risk management projects, 143 environmental restoration projects, 148 tea fire a entel infrastructure projects and 35 hydropower projects as well as inspections of 820 levees. about 74% of the corps contract actions have been awarded to small businesses and approximately 46% of the total dollar value has been awarded to small businesses. in addition we are continuing to encourage the larger companies receiving civil works contracts to hire local small businesses as their subcontractors. for the civil works program stimulus affects begin with
contract award because that's when the contractor begins to hire the workers or order the material and a command and take other steps to complete the work creating a ripples throughout the economy. as a result stimulus impact for the projects are closely related to the obligation of the recovery funds primarily through contract awards rather than through the subsequent outlays which provide payments to contractors for the work they already have completed or for the supplies and equipment they already have purchased three in the official recipe as reporting system contractors reported that the civil works recovery act contracts supported 6,047 jobs in just this last quarter gereed in addition to these jobs recovery act investment support numerous indirect jobs and industry is supplying materials and equipment. on february 19th always pleased to attend the groundbreaking ceremony commemorating the new construction work the was made possible by the recovery act at locks and dams number four in pennsylvania along the river
which is and former congressman murtha's district. the work was authorized in 1992 by congress because aging navigation locks and dams and elizabeth and braddock pennsylvania were crumbling and dangerous. the locks and dams represent a major federal investment over a number of years. the additional funding available through the recovery act will promote the court to complete construction of the critical walls by 2011. sooner than would otherwise have been possible. unfortunately congressman murtha wasn't there but i think that he would be pleased. thank you, mr. chairman and members of the committee for the opportunity to testify and i look forward to answering questions. >> thank you very much and for the reference to our good friend and former colleague jack murtha whose accomplishments are at large in who we remember for
many things but one in particular that at the end of the cold war era i talk to him about shifting some of the saved it defense dollars to breast cancer research and within the appropriations committee he was able to do that and the budget went from $35 million to $300 million many women's lives are being saved because of not only the accelerated research on breast cancer but also the education programs that have been funded by that savings from the cold war peace dividend. had that information then available 15 years earlier i might not have lost my wife. mr. fernandez.
>> thank you, chairman oberstar, members of the committee. i appreciate the opportunity to testify today on behalf of that part of commerce economic development administration. i've been asked to provide you an update on our progress regarding the recovery act projects. i'm pleased to report many communities are hit hard by the economic recession are already putting the funds to work picking on hiring workers and leveraging significant private investment. they received $150 million recovery act funding by the end of september the full year ahead of schedule we obligated 100% of our application funding 60 projects in 47 states. we invested $50 million to promote the development of regional innovation clusters, 37 million to promote business incubation, 27 million to promote green jobs and 11 million to promote global
trade. our investments range from as small as $184,000 up to 6.4 million. these projects targeted a wide range of economically distressed and underserved communities. we target projects that assisted communities as they built up their local assets and infrastructure to strengthen their regional economy and enhance their global economic competitiveness. tda awarded $141 million or about 96% of our total recovery act funds for capital investment projects. our investments are expected to leverage $981 million in private investment over the next few years. committee staff has a complete list of all of our recovery act projects that go into great detail in terms of the project description, job creation
numbers and private leverage. today 41% of the recovery projects are already under way. these projects represent about $50 million or 34% of our total allocation. i'm pleased to report that today nearly all of our projects within the eda a portfolio have met anticipated construction start dates and other project implementation milestones. we've been encouraged some of our projects in fact started ahead of schedule. the recovery act requires new measures for and president of accountability and transparency with our regional offices we develop specific outreach initiatives to assist our recipient partners in meeting these additional reporting requirements. at the end of the second reporting period 100% of the eda a grant recipients successfully reported on their progress.
our investment support a diverse mix of economic development activities that are proven to be an effective way of creating long-term economic stability and job growth and simply put we know what works and that is why we are particularly focused on investments that support regional, collaborative innovation strategies. the ability to successfully implement the recovery act should be no surprise to those familiar with the agency. in part of our success is due to the fact tda has a tremendous experience the full amount is a strength of the programs. historic cui the program investments have been efficient. the investments serve a catalytic role in local communities. the number of jobs created and amount of private sector investment leverage continue to be quite strong. so the chairman and others on
the committee we've had a long-term and very successful relationship working with this committee. we remain eager to work with you to help our country recover from this economic recession and as we prepare for the reauthorization we certainly look forward to working with the committee to develop an even stronger framework for sustainable economic development chairman, ranking member and others i want to say thank you for the opportunity to testify and i look forward to answering any questions. >> thank you. now mr. rajk. >> members of the committee think you for the eckert and to speak today on the coast guards continued progress executing funding received through the american recovery reinvestment act.
the two injured $40 million appropriated in the coast guard is allowing us to address critical projects and alteration of bridges program, selected shore facility projects as well as help sustain operation of the high endurance cutters. recovery act funding is providing significant impact to each of these programs to support a hard-working guardians and ultimately the american people. on hundred $42 million designated for the alteration of the bridges addresses significant obstructions to navigation and is critical to improve the safe and efficient movement of people and commerce through communities of mobile alabama, illinois, burlington on a planned culberson texas. once the bridge projects are completed will provide an estimated $18 million of annual commercial benefit in and around these communities. additionally construction of these four bridges leverages the over $120 million previously appropriated for these projects.
without the recovery act funding undertaking these projects would not have been possible until additional appropriations were made. to date of the funding for all four projects has been obligated in the three construction kroyt track's have been awarded. a second bid solicitation for the construction of the galveston causeway is expected to be under contract in early april. the bridges under the contract are moving along well with contractors working on each of the projects as we meet here today. the recipients reporting indicates the accretive to retain the 65 jobs of the projects. in addition to discussions with the burlington bridge contractor indicates there has been at least 37 unreported jobs created or sustained indirectly through the building and manufacturing of supply critical for the project. direct on-site work for all these bridges will be increasing as the spring approaches.
the $80 million appropriated for the coast guard construction includes critical projects such as building housing and barracks for the personnel khatami where no suitable and affordable housing exists. they also include revitalizing facilities and shop buildings. once complete these projects will allow us to better execute operational missions. so far we have awarded contracts on four of the seven projects and obligated just over $12 million which represent 14% of the short construction funds and is consistent of the original planning. the contrasting aspects for each of the seven projects have had their challenges. most significantly we plan to utilize the national multi award construction contract for five of the seven projects but that contract award was protested. as a result we are preserving individual contracts for each project currently all have been awarded, all contracts that have
been awarded along with those yet to be awarded are intended for small business set-aside programs. the $10 million appropriated for engineering changes and high endurance cutters is leveraged to upgrade critical pieces of equipment that most commonly contribute to make the casualties that firstly impact operations. these are some of the oldest and hardest working ships that the crews continue to struggle to keep operational. they will go along way to helping their efforts for example one of the projects replacing the on board boilers that have become difficult to maintain as indicated by over 200 casualties the past ten years across the fleet. without doing something for the absolutely critical systems the ships would continue to lose operational days due to casualties. in fact coastguard that recently completed an upgrade was supporting operations off the coast of haiti. hamilton since has been relieved by the covered nellis. context of an award for the four
of the seven high endurance changes with a gold obligating all funds by the end of april. all of these projects are also benefiting the important ship repair industry. mr. chairman, all of these projects will facilitate the mission's accomplishments to best serve the american public. our contracting staff engineers and project managers continue to aggressively pursue execution of these projects in support of the intent of the act. i would like to thank the committee for their support of the coast guard and opportunity to testify today. i'm pleased to answer their questions. thank you. >> thank you very much. mr. carper. >> thank you ranking member mica and members for the opportunity to testify before the committee today. i'd like to get a quick summary of what we plan to do where we are today and where we plan to go over the course -- >> would you speak closer to the microphone? >> sorry. is that better? amtrak was as you know a
recipient of nearly $1.3 billion of american recovery reinvestment act of 2009 grant funding to read as i speak more than $1 billion worth of projects are under way and i expect when the deadline our lives to be wary, 2011 we will have completed the replacement of all significant part of the bridges, improvement and repair of 38 facilities and 270 stations and return of 81 store and damaged cars and 15 locomotives to service. throughout the process we've pursued three important but subsidiary objections. to ensure we get the best possible value for the money to get as much as possible done within the allotted time to make the spending process as a transparent as possible with the important overriding focus of creating jobs. the federal railroad administration approved more than 99% of the total funding and we expect to make the bulk of our release in 2010. we are reporting and meetings
with the fra more frequently as we work through the grand contacting process. about 49% of the funding has come under the northeast corridor projects while the remaining 51% has been distributed across the national system. as of february, we have awarded 413 contracts with a total dollar value of $722.8 million. when invested in the fleet our mechanical department intends to return a total of 81 cars and 15 locomotives to surface with funding. first rehabilitated car rolled off the line at the shops in delaware on july 13th, not quite five months after the president signed into law. when this program is complete we will have added if equipment for roughly ten additional trains with several engines to spare, tin that allow us to grow revenue and ad writer ship. amtrak has created more than 600
equivalent positions as a result of working on everything from replacing ties and real in the yard miles michigan to cutting the trees on all divisions of the northeast corridor. this has combined with other ongoing efforts to reduce the number of incidents that affect our electric traction system. the cleanup of this kind is long overdue and this contributed to an apartment on the training performance. another part of this year's story is stations. many projects will be station improvements associated with mobility first program of stationed accessibility that includes $30 million of the funding. we will invest a total of $144 million from all funding sources and fy tend to address the compliance with the americans with disabilities act. for too long the lack of funding hindered our ability to make station improvements. five years was our goal for all
stations to be ada compliance. axson balzar wilmington, delaware and is for the projects already under way on schedule and within budget. many of these projects are ideal for small businesses in this brittle for the country. 45% of contracts we have awarded have gone to small businesses. we have laid the groundwork for productive year and i'm confident we will bring the work in on time. we've created more than 600 plus a growing number of jobs under created jobs and we are putting in the work building much-needed capacity and infrastructure improvements. this process has helped us prepare for larger projects we expect to undertake in the future and it's helped us to build a better and more transparent railroad. dinky for the opportunity today and i look forward to taking questions. >> thank you for a much.
we will begin the first round now and my questions will go to the secretary. do you feel requiring states to obligate 50% of the highway and bridge funding within 120 days of receiving their apportionment was a good idea? and i ask that because in my state some felt this requirement lead to short-term construction projects that did not yield long-term jobs and i would like to know if you agree. >> it's a good question. i do believe it made sense to have the 50% requirement within the first days and to give the committee a sense of where i'm coming from i was a state dot secretary delivering projects under the recovery act. what tended to happen was the truly shuffle ready projects ready to go you got out the door
as quickly as possible putting people to work as quickly as possible as for in the latter part of the recovery act projects right now what we are seeing is larger more complicated projects that couldn't move on the same time frame but if you look durham the country you're seeing a number of those larger projects now so it's a good combination of immediately getting people back to work, the recovery part of this and also the larger projects that create jobs but take longer to get out the door. the reinvestment part of you will of the bill i think is a good balance. >> so if by chance the second stimulus you feel you have a vision on how to require the states and agencies to comply with another time frame.
spec we believe the time frames in the legislation are actually pretty good ones. we've been working with state and local partners. i mentioned earlier we met every deadline so far. we expect to continue to do that. i will tell you for the march 1st the plan for the federal highways as of today we have 30 states at 100% obligation and 11 at 97% or of three the rest will make it by march 1st and likewise we believe every one of our transit recipients will make the march 5th deadline. the system that we use which is our existing reimbursed process is one that the states and transit agencies understand for going forward in a jobs bill any further investments in transportation infrastructure if they work the same we expect the same results. thank you very much.
mr. mica. >> i have a question to follow-up for our deputy secretary transportation. i guess the purpose of the t.i.g.e.r. discretionary grants i guess as you said was to create jobs and most economically depressed area as soon as possible. it had to be the jobs have to be ready to go to employ folks; is that correct? >> that's correct. there is a separate time frame as you know for the discretionary grants -- >> so there were thousands of these submitted. did you bring them? and then was there any consideration of on employment or the economic situation in the state's? >> tester it was the explicitly one of the things we looked at. i will tell you that of the awards, and there was tremendous demand. we had over 1400 t.i.g.e.r.
applications, $60 billion worth of applications -- >> my question really deals go with i have another slide, the bigger one that shows all of the awards for t.i.g.e.r. grants and you have about 1.5 million in discretionary money spent. if you look at the top of the west you see the lowest unemployment, 141 million went to states with below 6.9% unemployment. that to me doesn't quite make sense. take the charge of the ten states with highest unemployment we have a separate charges paul but also its bigger, the second chart. okay. of course as a member from florida there are certain things that stand out in this t.i.g.e.r. grant distribution
little chart which madame chair i would like both to be made part of the record without objection. thank you. >> this one sort of baffles me then i thought maybe florida didn't apply, tried to figure of the reasoning and i found out florida had 115 requests from florida receiving or asking for a total of 4.2 billion. the department of transportation alone requested for projects totaling 287 million a gaziano. we had a 11.8% unemployment. i would like you to submit to the committee if you could any paperwork in the evaluation process. i know you put these on line and i appreciate that transparency
but somewhere something doesn't click and i thought maybe florida got high-speed real money, 1.1 billion but that's not the media. there will be years before the money is spent. we don't even have the commission together or finalized plans. then i thought well illinois got 1.1 and 1.2 or something, about 2.3 billion towards passenger really and they got 120 million then i see the lowest unemployment states under 6.9 getting t.i.g.e.r. discretionary. somehow it doesn't appear that it's targeted to these states then we look at the amounts going. somehow this does not clich in my mind. >> it's a great question i will be happy to answer. >> i would like the background,
too of the evaluation process because how florida could not have one project ready to go and be in the top ten unemployment as senator nelson also is secretary but somehow we got directing ann curry to the screwed in this process and i want to find out how and why. it's just unconscionable we would be in the top ten in have states with half the unemployment getting these discretionary grants for economic recovery. >> i'm happy to answer that if you like. >> i would like to see if he could submit for the record i don't have a lot of time -- >> we will submit tikrit to read. i will say on t.i.g.e.r. event economically distressed areas which is in excess of the nationwide distribution.
>> if yes what member of congress would like to go to economically distressed areas i would like to see it in the 90%, 95%. 60 is negative but you tell that to people standing in line. i was on this morning with a father whose son was released from the united states military with a medical disability and can't get a job and this kid has been out of the military and can't find even menial work so it's frustrating from our standpoint. i know you're doing the best you can but i would like to see those records and i think senator nelson would. mr. carper, you are the recipients of -- there are 78 high-speed, so-called high speed
and passenger rail grants and you were the recipient for amtrak participated in a belt over 70. i think it's somewhere in the 76 range right? >> of the 78 you're going to participate in '76. according to the committee staff evaluation we do have an evaluation of those i would like to be made part of the record. >> i can't give you an exact number >> the committee staff will submit the for the record. if you have a dispute like until you did is 76 out of 78. >> okay. >> the strange thing is you mentioned transparency at least twice and i don't know where i can even as a member of congress get the transfer of information.
the d.o.t. puts there is online. i know you're on the recipient in the and should be the fra's obligation to put them on line but they are not on line and i want them on line and want you to put them on. can you handle that? >> we will do our best. >> i can't understand why we couldn't and i will get back to you to make sure that happens. >> i think there should be transparency in that process. you know, people criticize congressional earmarks. i think we should have the transparency in executive and the ministry of earmarks and today i'm to going to declare war on agencies who make determinations for awarding grants behind closed doors. at least we are elected officials. at least we are elected officials and i'm not picking on the obama administration. remember when we failed to pass an appropriations measure for
transportation appropriations, some of you were here. there were 1155 earmarks that went before the committee. we put on display. they were provided by an elected member of congress through the congressional process passed in the house of representatives open to the public and the bush administration when we failed to determine how that $800 million was to be spent took that money and behind closed doors some arrogant bush administration folks put on five projects of their choice with no hearing, no public recourse. if the obama administration is going to do the same thing i am declaring war, executive earmarks today. i want them open and transparent. if it is fra it should be we are members of congress and we deserve to know and the american public deserves to know. i guess that is my speech. you don't answer mr. carper but i'm looking, it's not totally
irresponsible, fra isn't here for me to bash this morning but i do want to online and while demanded and by going to write a letter and ask mr. oberstar, ms. brown and mr. schuster to sign and requested. >> congressman, if i might, because i perhaps misunderstood the question there wasn't thinking quite clearly, the numbers we refer to i believe our projects that were requested by the state and they likely will be in our service and our lines. >> again between fra and amtrak is the recipient. finally, mr. peck, good morning mr. peck. [laughter] sorry you couldn't get away without me saying something. but i'm sure you saw this "washington post" story about the commercial real-estate situation in d.c. which is desperate but which presents us
with a great opportunity to read i saw your number of dollars available allocated, obligated, extended. i work with ms. norton, the chairman to see at this time when we have a fire sale and we are leasing we have expensive leases when we have public agencies that can be housed at 50 cents, 25 cents on the dollar that we act now instead of later and to get vantage of the situation. i used to be in the development business and i always thought fire sales and made a lot of money. god forbid we should make any money on the federal government or have money to give the taxpayers back but at least expand the money that is available making wise investments at this time which may not occur for some time. things will come back. this is a great city and
national couple. it will always have value. if we take the sun this sitting there and work together. it took mr. oberstar on a ride around town to see what's available. ms. norton knows what i'm talking about and we need to get some of that under contract asap >> i know you know but just for the record of course we can't use recovery act funds for building purchases because they don't create jobs. however what you're referring to is we do have some on obligated balances and we can use general tax funds to purchase buildings and i will tell you that we've do have one sycophant building purchase of a negotiation and the district of columbia. i can't say what is right now because we haven't closed the deal but all i hear you. you're absolutely right. >> thank you. >> second round, we hope he will
put some emotion into it. ms. norton. >> thank you very much, madame chair. i thank the ranking member for raising an important issue. the federal building fund is going broke precisely because we do too much leasing now of course the ranking member has specific buildings he would like us to buy. but i'm right with him when it comes to what the gsa all to be giving this is their economy. they can buy and they can lease at amounts they will never be able to do again and that is why we have been having repeated hearings on the gsa and have had for tracking hearings that may account for what the gsa in fact i pleased to say has sped up in at least its obligations. mr. peck says he can't tell you what building it is that it's under contract but of course it's a matter of public record because the administration for
the first time in the 20 years i've been on the subcommittee put money in its appropriation to purchase a building. that has never happened since i've been a member of the committee and it did so last year. i would like to see more of that done but of course we have to come up with hard cash. this is time to do it. but also all get rich like the ranking member did doing precisely that. >> or you yelled for just a second? >> things can be misinterpreted. first i know no washington real-estate developers. i have nothing for sale, i have no specific building. i do have one agency that i would like to be located i don't care where they put them just put them someplace cost-effective for the taxpayer. as bernanke wants us to move people out of a government owned
building and put the people in a leased building in the district of columbia. no, he wants us to buy another building for these people. all of this makes sense in its own way and if he attended together to come up with a way to get some cash we should do just that. i've got first questions for the eda and double the from the vetoed the eda allocated all of its money and have less than ever about the else. i think it is worth noting that eda -- mr. fernandes, i don't like the gsa which has control of the funds and co to the ground itself eda a hastert work through the states. you're talking about state projects aren't you? >> more